Merson suggests the Gunners sell the Frenc centre-back than send him on another loan
“Will there be an end to the curious saga of William Saliba at Arsenal?”, is a question many fans have asked themselves. Former Gunners player Paul Merson has shared his opinion on the centre-back in his latest column for the Daily Star.
He speculates on whether the player failed to impress in the training sessions and as a result has been sent out on loan for three consecutive seasons. He is currently playing for Olympique Marseille.
“William Saliba is running out of time to prove himself at Arsenal and I think he could be sold this summer. There must be a reason he’s been loaned out three times by the club. Was he getting ripped in training? I don’t see why he’s still on loan otherwise.”
The former Arsenal man also believes that a suitable offer could, in fact, take him away from the Emirates.
“Arsenal paid a lot of money for him, but I think if anyone offers them their money back they would take it right now. It’s almost three years he’s been there now and he can’t get a look-in. Maybe Mikel Arteta has watched him train and decided he’s nowhere near ready.”
The centre-back signed from Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne in 2019 for a fee of €30 million as a highly-rated teenager. He spent the rest of the campaign with the French club on loan. The Gunners faithful expected Mikel Arteta to accommodate Saliba in their squad thereafter, but Saliba is yet to make his competitive debut for the Emirates outfit.
Merson believes that Arsenal will require another top-quality centre-back next season if they don’t have faith in the Frenchman, especially if Champions League nights are to return to the Emirates.
“But if that’s the case, Arsenal are going to need another centre-back this summer because you can’t rely on Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding. Especially if they are in the Champions League because you have to have a big squad full of quality, proven players to survive playing that many games a season.”
As things stand, Arsenal are in pole-position to finish fourth with their current tally of 63 points from 34 games. They have a two-point cushion over local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Antonio Conte’s side will face Liverpool in their next game and it is highly likely that they will drop points.
The Gunners will hope to make the most of this opportunity and strengthen their position by winning all three points against Leeds United.
Former Arsenal midfielder reiterates that it’s time to sell the 21-year old
Mikel Arteta is surely vexed about William Saliba’s situation. It looks as if this is the best time to incorporate the centre-back into their side and also the best time to make money through him.
The Gunners loanee has been hugely impressive playing for Olympiue Marseille, so much so that he has deservedly earned a nomination for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award.
He has featured 49 times for the French club this season across all competitions and his solid performances also earned him his first French national team call-up in March. Merson writes that there is a difference between the standards in the French top-flight and the English Premier League, and it’s better to sell Saliba than wait for him to come good.
“How long can they keep waiting for Saliba? You hear that he’s doing well in France, but that league is nowhere near as competitive as the Premier League. If Arsenal don’t have confidence in him to perform over here, there’s no point bringing him back from Marseille just to loan him out again. They might as well sell.”